GOLF: Ridgemark ends membership program

Less than a week after the Ridgemark Golf and Country Club announced it would discontinue its 175 memberships, some soon-to-be former members seem happy with the upcoming change.
For the first time in the club’s nearly 40 year history, the course will have no members and will be fully open to the public on July 1, owner Alex Kehriotis told the club’s members in a letter dated May 31. The change comes after 10 years of decreasing memberships that fell from a high of 450.
“You can’t continue doing the same thing and not expect the same results,” Ridgemark’s Director of Golf Bruce Lewis said last week.
Some members see the benefits in the change.
“I think it’s very positive,” 10-year member David Tomlinson said. “It’s saving existing members a significant amount of money and it should encourage more public to come out and play and to spend time in the lounge and restaurant. It’s more positive for the community.”
There are downsides to the change – namely a loss of a daily, private course – but the positives outweigh the negatives, Tomlinson said.
“There is significantly not as many members out here that there once was,” Tomlinson said. “I can see how management has trouble closing an entire course for the day, when there is a small number of private members. Hopefully, I’m a member and a resident here and the better conditions on the course, the more people are exposed to this community. Our home values and status as home owners are only going to be enhanced.”
For 89-year-old W.R. Cloud, who had been a member at Ridgemark for 22 years, the benefits of the change are unknown.
“Well, I think it’s reasonable because they stated it went from 450 to 170 members or something,” he said. “It’s hard to maintain. I don’t know if the change will benefit the owners or not. With the membership at least they had a known income. With this now, some of the members will play on a packaged deal I think.”
Part of the membership drop includes the implementation of an Annual Card Program. People can pay $199 per month to play both the Gabilan and Diablo course each day. Cart holders will have to pay $400 per year to use the trail. The annual cart fee was raised to $800.
Regardless, Ridgemark could see more business and money, Cloud said.
“It depends on marketing,” he said. “If you have somebody that is marketing the public it can be good. I think it will be more profitable.”
It could be another positive change for the members and homeowners in area, something the Kehriotis family continues to do since they bought the property in 2009, Cloud said.
“I think the new owners have really improved the course,” he said. “There has been great change in the course. The price, it’s been great. I haven’t heard any complaints.”
Tomlinson, who expects to buy an annual card, trusts the owners, he said.
“We will give it a year and hopefully it will be as positive as it can,” Tomlinson said.

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